I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

My Writing Experience

I'm a cat lover, writer and artist in general.  I've told stories much of my life, but didn't start writing seriously with the thought of publishing anything until about ten years ago.  

I really got interested when my husband sent me an email about the first ABNA contest back in 2008.  I had a story I'd been working on for about four years and was determined to finish it and enter it in the contest.  It was all free, so I had nothing to lose and was looking forward to the experience.


Haversham Hill started out as a dream that I built a story around.  I'm blessed to have vivid wild dreams most of the time and although this is a ghost story, I'm never afraid when I'm dreaming.

Over the next three - four months I wrote my butt off on that story, going over it and rewriting several times. I probably read it thirty times and could tell you the whole story without even reading it.  I didn't know if I would ever be satisfied with my efforts.  I finally decided I could only tweak on it so much.  

Then of course came my lesson in formatting.  I was so frustrated with Word at that point because I had never used it much before.  I usually hand wrote on big legal pads, or in notebooks up to that point.  Typing this whole story into Word was a huge task.  I about pulled my hair out trying to learn the program in such a short period of time.  I picked my girlfriend's brain on the phone since she was in TX and I was here in the desert in southern UT.  I finally got a Word tutor at the local college to help me out.  Those were trying times, but I won't be deterred and got everything ready in time.

I did make it a few rounds in the contest before I was eliminated, so I felt good about all my hard work.  I met many wonderful talented writers and learned a lot.

When the contest was over, I did lots of research on publishing and decided to self-publish the book with Createspace, the best value I found at the time.  Now I had another problem, I needed a cover.  At the time, CS didn't have the cover creator they do today.  

This presented another big learning curve as I taught myself Photoshop.  In many ways, this was worse than learning Word, but I was determined and stubborn and eventually succeeded in making my cover.  

I had tons of photos on my computer and needed one of the woods for this book.  At that time we owned a cabin in the mountains we could escape to in the summer when it was 115 here in the desert.  The cabin was in a national forest at 6800 feet high.  This gave me an opportunity to take lots of woodsy pics.  

A couple of stressful months later I had everything ready and uploaded my files.  Then I anxiously awaited the proof copy, which arrived surprisingly fast.  I sat down to read it like a book for the first time.  This proof was free for entering the contest, but to my horror I found a missing period and a missing set of quotation marks.  I couldn't let that slide, so I had to fix it and upload a new file, then wait for another proof copy.  

Finally book one was ready.  Since I can't spend any money on my writing projects, I'm not sure how I came up with the cash to buy these books, but I was so excited when they arrived.  I really felt a sense of accomplishment.

The wonderful feeling of holding your first book


This is my first book and still my best seller.  I think it's because it's a ghost story.  Looking at it now, I would probably have done a few things differently if I was doing it today.

 


By this time I was working on book two, another fantasy, but this time a medieval, romance adventure story.  I've always loved the tales of King Arthur and reading about the Middle Ages.  So I set my story in a small hamlet and decided to take two sisters that would be separated and left as orphans after raiders killed their parents.

The story took about a year and a half to write.  I had to do a lot of research for that time period in order to get things as accurate as possible.  

When I was finished, I found another writer on the internet to exchange books with and he read my work for errors.  This is the book I entered in the ABNA the following year.  I made it a couple of rounds with this one also.  

When the contest was over I designed a cover by setting up my own back drop here at the house and taking about fifty pictures to get the right one that I envisioned in my mind.  This time Word and Photoshop wasn't as hard to work with.

I also published this book with CS and have plans to make it a sequel someday in the future, although it can stand alone as a book.

While this book was in the contest, I started on my next novel, again inspired by another dream.  

 


My third book is a Y/A adventure story about a twelve-year-old boy who meets a leprechaun.  He's an adventurous kid and this was fun to write.  I set this book in Ireland and the lad is a bored potato farmer's son.

Yes, this was another ABNA entry.  I can't seem to stay away from that contest.

I received a Wacom tablet for Christmas the year I was writing this book so I used it along with Photoshop to design my cover. I had a lot of fun doing that because I love to draw, but painting in pixels is a whole new game.  

Saving the Rainbow isn't a big seller.  I think the story has a nice message, but I have some Irish speak in it to make it more authentic.  Maybe I overdid it.

Here's my table at the book faire

I did do a book faire where I live, but they shun fantasy authors here.  The community is a very religious one.  I'll never do another book faire here, but I don't regret doing this one.  It proved to me what I already knew.

During all this, I also wrote and finished a family book of farm stories during the years we were all growing up in south TX. This was a ten-year project and I decided to print and bind it myself and not make it available through Amazon.

I've now taken a different path for a while and have written my first mystery, which is being edited right now.  Meanwhile, I'm almost finished with the sequel.  I have a cover in my head for this book, but don't have one available yet to post.  I'm not sure if it will be published this year or not.  I hope so.

You can find out more about my books on my writing blog Faerie Book Loft or on my website Faerie Mound Books.

Thanks for reading.

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Sunni